The global distribution of seagrass meadows

McKenzie, Len J, Nordlund, Lina M., Jones, Benjamin L., Cullen-Unsworth, Leanne C., Roelfsema, Chris, and Unsworth, Richard K.F. (2020) The global distribution of seagrass meadows. Environmental Research Letters, 15 (7). 074041.

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Abstract

Seagrass meadows globally are under pressure with worldwide loss and degradation, but there is a growing recognition of the global importance of seagrass ecosystem services, particularly as a major carbon sink and as fisheries habitat. Estimates of global seagrass spatial distribution differ greatly throughout the published literature, ranging from 177 000 to 600 000 km2 with models suggesting potential distribution an order of magnitude higher. The requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement by outlining National Determined Contributions (NDC's) to reduce emissions is placing an increased global focus on the spatial extent, loss and restoration of seagrass meadows. Now more than ever there is a need to provide a more accurate and consistent measure of the global spatial distribution of seagrass. There is also a need to be able to assess the global spread of other seagrass ecosystem services and in their extension, the values of these services. In this study, by rationalising and updating a range of existing datasets of seagrass distribution around the globe, we have estimated with Moderate to High confidence the global seagrass area to date as 160 387 km2, but possibly 266 562 km2 with lower confidence. We break this global estimate down to a national level with a detailed analysis of the current state of mapped distribution and estimates of seagrass area per country. Accurate estimates, however, are challenged by large areas remaining unmapped and inconsistent measures being used. Through the examination of current global maps, we are able to propose a pathway forward for improving mapping of this important resource. More accurate measure of global #seagrass distribution, critical for assessing current state and trends

Item ID: 64142
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1748-9326
Keywords: mapping, species distribution, eelgrass, sea grass, global extent, spatial distribution
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
Funders: Swedish Research Council FORMAS
Projects and Grants: Grant no. 2014-1288
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2020 22:51
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 33%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 33%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 34%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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